10 June 2013

A very close encounter with an Arabian Red Fox – Dhahran Hills

After spending an evening out with my daughters looking for insects and birds we went to try to see if we could again see the Arabian Red Fox that lives nearby. When we arrived at the location where I have seen the fox previously I saw one running off in the distance. The girls did not see it so we stopped the car and got out to try to see if we could see it again. Once we were all out of the car I saw another fox this time much closer and amazingly the animal walked right up to us, to within a couple of metres and sat down watching us. This is easily the closest I have ever been to an Arabian Red Fox and although it was late in the evening I managed to get a few photographs with my 100 mm lens, as the animal was so close. We watched the fox for about 15 minutes until it became almost dark and then left it in the same place. This was an amazing experience and one we all enjoyed, including the Fox I assume as it seemed very happy watching us.

The Arabian Red Fox Vulpes vulpes Arabica is a widespread subspecies of the Common Red Fox Vulpes vulpes and is native to Arabia. It is highly adaptable and more adapted to desert life than its parent species. They can be found in cities, desert areas and mountains. It is brownish red in colour, similar to the Common Red Fox, possibly slightly more sandy in colour, but the Arabian Red Fox’s ears are much larger, and its body much smaller. The large ears have thousands of tiny blood vessels that help the fox maintain its body temperature. Another adaptation to living in the desert is the fur between its toes, to prevent burning its feet. Adults weigh between 2.7 – 4.5 kilograms, are most active at night and are mainly solitary with well-defined home ranges. They eat rodents, birds and fish which they actively hunt during the night, as well as some desert vegetation and even carrion.